Rob Black's Tech Stock Report (CA, Q, STX, MSFT, AMD)

by: Rob Black

The recent changes afoot at CA (NASDAQ:CA) will have consequences, but perhaps not entirely the ones that the Board and CEO John Swainson may anticipate. For instance, the Board influenced the hiring of several of the senior executives over the last couple of years that have now departed (COO Jeff Clarke, CFO Bob Davis, CTO Mark Barrenechea). Some recent changes and their fallout include: the departure of another senior executive (Worldwide Sales Head Greg Corgan), the cancellation of the company’s contribution to employees’ 401K plan, recently expected restatements and reporting delays, the delay of sales commission payments, the lowering of its debt outlook to negative from positive by Moody’s (while maintaining its Ba1 rating).

Qwest Communications (Q) will offer Windows Live antivirus software to high-speed Internet access customers, switching from McAfee Inc. as Microsoft Corp. introduces expanded online programs this year.

Insiders are selling out of Seagate (NASDAQ:STX) rapidly. Silver Lake Partners sold 3.75 mln shares in the open market in May while five top Seagate executives sold about 583,000 shares in the open market.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is investing in a London-based computer networking company and a Dublin developer of mobile phone software — fresh evidence of what some leading venture capitalists say is a new blossoming of bankable innovation in Europe. The value of the two agreements is so minuscule as to be immaterial to the American software giant's massive bottom line, but the deals stand out because they involve the exchange of so-called intellectual property.

Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) will probably raise its share of processors that go into desktop computers by a "couple'' of percentage points from now to the "mid-20s'' by the end of the year, President Dirk Meyer said in an interview yesterday in Taipei. The company is also poised to gain "a few'' percentage points in share of the market for chips that go into laptops, he said.

Advanced Micro Devices and Transmeta (TMTA) entered into an agreement under which AMD will market and provide the specialized version of the Efficeon microprocessor in emerging markets. Transmeta designed the microprocessor to provide a secure hardware foundation for FlexGo, Microsoft's new technology that enables pay-as-you-go and subscription computing models. columnist notes

I am now utterly convinced that AMD will buy or merge with ATI Tech (ATYT) and I am also nearly as convinced that it will happen as soon as Computex, which opens today. Several very smart analysts I have talked to seem to think it is madness for AMD to hook up with their Canadian brethren, mainly because it would antagonize their closest partner, NVidia (NASDAQ:NVDA). The whole reasoning behind this merger is nothing you would ever think of, GPU functionality on the CPU, the 'next next big thing. x86 is about to take the biggest left turn since the 286 -> 386 transition, and GPU-like functionality will be the key. I would be shocked if Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) is not doing this now, they actually do have the vision to do this, implementation seems to be the stumbling block of late. To keep up, AMD has to throw reams of nonexistent engineers at it, hire a coherent GPU team with a track record of delivery, or buy that coherent team... The generation of chips around 2010 will be radically different from today's cores. The current chips are showing diminishing returns for the time and effort, and a radical change is long overdue. If AMD does not buy ATYT, they will have to have a miracle happen to beat Intel in 5 years. ATYT will shortcut this enough to allow them to possibly beat INTC to market too...

Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) announced that the New Jersey Turnpike Authority is deploying its first advanced optical network using the Cisco ONS 15454.

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) revised upward its previously reported results for the quarter to reflect a settlement with the Internal Revenue Service related to an audit of the company's tax returns for 1996 through 1998. The company said the settlement adds $443 million to earnings for the second quarter. This brings its reported profit to $1.9 billion. The company also lifted its outlook for the full year to reflect the added net income from the settlement. Last month, H-P reported a 51% jump in net income and a 4.6% sales increase for its fiscal second quarter. H-P's results were driven primarily by restructuring efforts and higher profitability across its businesses, which include printers in addition to PCs.